ST. ANDREW DUNG-LAC AND COMPANIONS (OR THANKSGIVING DAY USA)
Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God.
If you have spent some time studying the Old Testament prophets, you probably know that their role was less about telling the future and more about being a spokesperson for the Lord. Their job was to correct, comfort, and encourage God’s people. The Book of Revelation was written with a similar purpose, so when we read passages like today’s first reading, the best place to start is by thinking about the original readers and what the author might have been trying to tell them.
As a religious minority, Christians were often persecuted by Roman officials. Some of them suffered the loss of loved ones and lived in fear for their own lives. In this context, the “Babylon” depicted in Revelation could be seen as a symbol of the evil and oppression that surrounded them. But the author of Revelation was encouraging them to look beyond their current situation. He wanted them to be confident that the God who had overcome sin in their hearts would one day overcome the sin in the world. No matter how dark the times felt, the light of Christ would triumph.
Even though we are not living under Roman oppression, the same message can speak to us today. War, murder, immorality, and persecution: they are still with us. In our own lives, we still have to battle the lies of the devil and the temptations to sin. And yet no matter what evils we face, we can be certain that the end of the story is already written. By his death and resurrection, Jesus has conquered sin and death. As the author of Revelation wrote, “Salvation, glory, and might belong to our God” (19:1)! Sin will not have the last word.
Jesus tells us the same thing in today’s Gospel reading. When he comes again in power and glory, we will know that our redemption is at hand (Luke 21:28). In the meantime, let’s do what Jesus tells us: let’s stand erect and raise our heads (21:28). One day peace and justice will reign, and we will celebrate for all eternity with the angels and saints at the wedding feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).
“Lord, help me to resist evil and hold fast to you until you come again.”
Revelation 18:1-2,21-23; 19:1-3, 9